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Number of Dead Sea Turtles in Mississippi Hits 99 for 2012

By Rhonda Miller | Published 01 May 2012 12:48pm | comments
Dead sea turtle found near Mockingbird Lane in Gulfport April 30, 2012.

Dead sea turtles and dolphins continue to wash up along Mississippi beaches.  MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports scientists are still trying to determine the cause of death.

"We’ve been responding to quite a few animals. In the last few days, we’ve had at least four live animals now, and then we’ve had a dead dolphin."

That’s Moby Solangi, president of the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport. The institute has a hotline for reporting stranded turtles and dolphins. Solangi is on the beach at the end of Mockingbird Lane in Gulfport documenting a dead sea turtle.

"This animal has been dead for quite some time now. He is in pretty deteriorated condition."

He’s with biologist Alicia Carron.

"38 even..notch to tip 38 even, notch to notch 37.8."

This is the 99th dead turtle found this year in Mississippi, compared to 186 turtles that washed up in the state during the first four months of 2011.

According to Connie Barclay, spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there are many possible reasons for the deaths.

"Fishing activities that may result in turtle bicatch or mortality, biotoxins such as harmful algablooms, and, of course, possible impacts from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill."

Whatever the cause, Stacy Baer of Gulfport is disturbed. She’s lived on the Gulf Coast for 20 years and never saw a dead sea turtle until after the oil spill.

"It’s very disheartening. I’ve got lots of friends who are very concerned about it that ive down in long Beach and Bay Saint Louis, because we’re not going to know the ramifications of what happened for many, many, many years, especially the environmental damages."

In 2011, NOAA reported 525 sea turtles stranded, most of them dead, in Mississippi,  Alabama, and Louisiana. Of the  total, 283 were in Mississippi.

 



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